Upward Bound – Week 2

Filled with more crazy adventures! Sometimes I question how I’m still alive but we are mostly safe – the majority of the time. We just need to have a lot of trust in each other, the leaders and most importantly God!

Our Monday started off with learning about orientation, reading maps and working out how to use a compass. Our skills were then put to the test when we had to find and rescue our “injured” leaders in the middle of the woods and take them to “hospital”. Our team being very creative thought it would be a great idea to use of backpacks as a stretcher for our unconscious casualty which made walking downhill through thick bush quite a challenge. It didn’t help that we were all laughing so hard we could barely carry the stretcher! Once done we realised we had a tarp in our bags we could have used to make the stretcher – oops, at least we’re innovative.

Tuesday we hiked for around 10km up to a mountain and stopped at a hut where we were given caving suits, helmets, cooking gear and gloves. We continued to the mountain as fast as we could as we heard a thunderstorm approaching us. And after hiking for hours up hill it is not easy to walk fast along cliffs with a storm chasing you! But God was good and held it off until we were all safely inside the cave and then he allowed the booming and pouring rain to begin. We put our warm clothes on – and I realised I really didn’t pack enough warm things! And then journeyed for about an hours through the 0-degree cave with different obstacles along the way. Martin, our leader, had explained that the cave was 12km long. However, we had only journeyed 300m in (yes it did take an hour for that little distance!). We came to a waterfall area (still in the cave) where we cooked our lovely hot soup and sung and danced to keep ourselves warm. Martin then told us to turn all our lights off and there we sat in complete darkness. He told us stories relating to how people live in the darkness of a cave and liked it because it’s all they knew. It wasn’t until Jesus comes to tell them about the light outside the cave that they had a revelation of the truth. But even then some people are unsure about it so they continue to live in the darkness. So true! If only everybody would know about the light and life that Jesus brings! Martin then had a little candle lit and said that as Christians we have the light of Jesus shining through us. And no matter how big or small that light is it is still a light and it will make a difference in the darkness – a massive difference in fact.

That night was the worst night I have had to this day. I was freezing, damp and I think I slept maybe 2 hours. I was counting down the minutes until we could all pack up and get out into the morning sunlight. I have never appreciated the sun so much! Or my own warm bed and showers and soft grass and light and flowers and trees and water! Despite the horrible night I did love the adventure we had, it was quite an experience that I will not forget! The moment finally came where we could leave the cave! Then we had to walk about 20km home – luckily most of it was downhill making it a nice hike!

Thursday – as if the cold cave wasn’t enough for us we had to prepare ourselves for some cold water! We got in our team, made some impressive rafts and floated on down the river. We may have bumped over some rocks and crashed into some tree branches but we survived quite alright! It was fun! We then had to get from one side of the fast flowing river to the other side by pulling ourselves across using a rope. The guys made it look super easy but It’s a challenge when you have ice cold water rushing in your face and trying to drag you down the river. Nevertheless, I made it across, my body continuously amazes me with what it can do. And having a stubborn mind helps.

On Friday we did canyoning! I didn’t know what to expect for this but I was pleastly surprised with the adventure! We pretty much jumped off many rocks, 3m, 6m, 8m high into the water and continued along the canyon doing this as well as sliding down waterfalls! The jumps were insanely scary but as long as you don’t think about it too much and just take the leap all is good. The more you think about it the higher the jump seems, 30 seconds later it’s about 30 metres higher! So that was my motto for the day that got me through “Don’t think! Just do!” Probably not a good motto to go through life with but 😉 Although when it’s the holy spirit prompting us to do something then yes, a great motto to go by, otherwise our human selves talk us out of it.

And Finally today – a much needed rest day! A day to recover from the week and mentally prepare ourselves for what’s to come!

Our night lectures this week have been based around Collosians 3:15-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

It has been good to learn about some practical ways of living out these virtues. Something important for all of God’s followers to be reminded of daily. I pray you all continue to let your light shine to others so they may come to know Jesus! 🙂

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